When I woke up Thursday morning to an alarming CGM, I looked at the graph and for the first time in a long while, my breath caught in my throat and tears formed in my eyes.
All I could whisper was, “Thank you, Jesus.”
This is what I saw on my graph:
I don’t typically share all the details that go into managing my diabetes, I just do it. To ride my bike as often and as intensely as I do, it means I have to be stringent in my diabetes management. Highs and lows mean I don’t get to ride. It’s never simple, it’s rarely easy and it’s always constant.
Did you know if my blood sugar drops below 30 or so, I have a seizure? If left untreated from the low, I will die. The harsh name for it is “dead in bed” because of the danger of lows during the night when people aren’t aware of the symptoms. My blood sugars overnight Wednesday stayed below 40 for four hours. There’s not a logical reason I woke up.
The day of the race, I ran high. I paced myself to come down because I knew I was racing. I didn’t want an excess of insulin in my system going into the crit knowing hard efforts cause my blood sugar to drop. My blood sugar tried to drop just before the race, but I corrected and was 123 at the start. As angry as I was at diabetes during the race, I could hear my friends cheering and it motivated me to keep pushing. I stayed around 80-85 the whole race and post-race, I was 102. When I went to bed, I was 142–no reason to expect a low blood sugar.
I went into this week’s race fearing three things: getting lapped, riding alone and finishing at the back of the pack. All three happened Wednesday night. How’s that for facing your fears.
Honestly, my pride was a little wounded after the crit. Before the race, a teammate told me to let go of my expectations. Yeah, well, that’s advice I definitely should’ve taken. After finishing sixth in the beginner’s race last month, I set high goals (see also: unrealistic goals) for this race, and I felt disappointment when I didn’t meet them.
But then I woke up Thursday morning, grateful at the realization of what a 4-hour low should have meant for me. My pride didn’t feel quite as bruised any more. After correcting the low, I sat on the edge of my bed with my eyes closed. I quietly whispered prayers of thanksgiving… for waking up, but also for diabetes. That seems like an awkward juxtaposition, doesn’t it?
I ride a bike because I have type 1 diabetes. It’s how I found the sport, and it’s my biggest motivator in training. My friends that came to cheer me on? Yeah, I met every one of them through having type 1 diabetes.
It may seem that my world revolves around cycling, but that’s because the Lord is using this sport to do some amazing things to my heart–to stretch me out of my comfort zone, to form new friendships, to teach me discipline, to make an impact on research.
After Thursday morning’s mercy and a day of reflection, I realized I learned far more by finishing last than I would’ve ever learned by landing on the podium. The thing I sometimes need to be reminded of is that Jesus holds nothing good from us, and His will for our lives is to bring Him glory through all we face–and for me, that includes type 1 diabetes.
I went to bed Wednesday night feeling a bit wounded and maybe even embarrassed. But I woke up Thursday grateful for life and feeling renewed to continue the work I’m doing. I’m on a mission here, and it’s not to win bike races. (Though I do plan to win one or two in the coming years.) I want to show joy and love, which are gifted from God. I want to continue working toward a cure for a disease that’s not fair, not easy and not simple. I want to use my passion for cycling to positively impact the lives of others. And I want God to be glorified through all of it.
Mercies… new every morning. Including after a 4-hour low blood sugar that logically, should’ve had a different outcome.